"Brain fog is one health issue that I believe may be the most overlooked and taken the least seriously, despite the fact that it causes so much disruption in people's lives."
Do you have days when feel like you’re walking around in a fog? You have difficulty thinking, concentrating, or forming thoughts, and your thinking feels muddled or slow? If so, then you have brain fog and increasing bouts of it can become serious over time.
In Part I of a two-part video series on brain fog, Dr. Nancy discusses six well-known and one less well-known causes of brain fog.
- 00:45: Brain fog is not taken seriously enough
- 01:24: This problem falls through the cracks of modern medicine
- 02:13: You don't have to suffer with brain fog forever!
- 03:04: Many conditions that cause brain fog have one thing in common: inflammation
- 04:01: Neuroinflammation is called Leaky Brain Syndrome
- 05:33: Why brain fog and mood issues go hand in hand: the underlying cause
- 06:06: Tackling brain fog - less inflammation in + more inflammation out
- 06:44: How diet contributes to inflammation
- 07:09: Environmental toxins contribute to brain fog
- 07:26: How poor sleep adds to your inflammatory load
- 08:15: Step 1: Get adequate sleep
- 08:51: Step 2: Cut out smoking and alcohol
- 10:03: Step 3: Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
- 11:09: Step 4: Reduce stress
- 11:54: Step 5: Get anti-oxidant and probiotic support
- 13:16: Step 6: Get more Vitamin D
Severe Brain Fog
Brain fog is one of the most overlooked health issues out there, despite the fact that it causes tremendous disruption in people's lives.
People with severe brain fog are often left to fend for themselves most of the time, and problems like this fall through the cracks of mainstream medicine. This is partly because there's no easily identifiable medication that cures brain fog.
Those who suffer from this condition describe it as living in a haze, as their life passes by them. It's sort of like living with saran wrap or goggles over your eyes. Instead of being engaged in the present moment, people feel like they're watching life from a distance, or their thinking is muffled.
There's good news!
You don't have to suffer with brain fog forever! There are some steps you can take to restore clear and sharp cognitive function.
It's important to note that you should see your doctor to help identify whether a serious medical condition is contributing to your brain fog. You might consider a functional medicine doctor who can perform a series of tests to look at your thyroid and adrenals, as well as explore whether candida or a low-grade virus such as Eppstein Barr are contributors. However, these conditions and others all have one thing in common:
Inflammation in the body and brain contributes to brain fog. So let's talk about inflammation.
Sometimes, a natural inflammatory response in the body is actually critical to your health. You need inflammation to fight off infection and help you heal. But it must be in the proper balance. Too much inflammation can be harmful, and when it comes to the brain, chronic inflammation can cause the protective brain-blood barrier to be more permeable, leading to brain inflammation.
This neuroinflammation is called Leaky Brain Syndrome. The hypothalumus, an almond-shaped region in the middle of your brain, is very sensitive to inflammation. It's the inflammatory oxidative stress on the hypothalamus that is the underlying cause of brain fog. And the hypothalamus also controls your emotions! This is why brain fog and mood issues go hand in hand.
Tackling Brain Inflammation
When we look at tackling the issue of brain fog, we can take the same approach we take to dealing with other inflammatory issues in the body, like aching joints or digestive issues. It all goes back to the equation:
Less inflammation in + more inflammation out, = a healthier you!
For addressing brain fog, this has never been more true. It's important to cut out inflammation, starting with eliminating inflammatory foods, such as processed foods, and foods high in sugar, gluten, and dairy. This is even more critical if you have diabetes, as high blood sugar levels from these foods can really boost the inflammation in your brain.
It's also important to watch out for environmental toxins such as mold and heavy metals, which are known as contributors to inflammation and brain fog.
If you're not sleeping well at night, you have more added inflammatory stress which can also have a major affect on your brain health. Sleep loss increases the inflammation fighting anti-oxidants called glutathione, which increases oxidative stress on your hypothalamus.
Following are six steps you can take right away to start restoring mental clarity.
Six steps to tackle brain fog
Getting adequate sleep.
It's the quality, not the quantity that counts, but it's good to get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted quality sleep. This has been shown in studies over and over again to provide the best rejuvenating benefits to combat daytime brain fog.
Cut out smoking and heavy alcohol use.
Smoking and drinking dramatically increase the free radicals produced in your body which leads to increased inflammation in your gut, as well as in your brain. Limit the intake of both or cut them out completely to allow your body to heal.
Eat a healthier diet.
Stock up on anti-inflammatory foods such as lemons, avocados, cucumbers, celery, asparagus, leafy greens, etc. Fresh fruits and vegetables, quality protein, and at the same time decrease your sugar intake. This will go a long way toward reducing brain fog. Download Dr. Nancy's anti-inflammatory ebook to get started.
Get out your yoga mat and start some gentle yoga, or conscious breathing. Go on a walk, sit still for a while... take time to do some sort of calming activities daily to reduce stress on your body.
Get anti-oxidant and probiotic support.
Following the anti-inflammatory diet will naturally reduce inflammation, but you need more than just fruits and vegetables to combat high levels of inflammation. Add sauerkraut, miso, and other high fiber foods, but also supplement with powerful antioxidant free radical fighters like Smarter Curcumin and a complete pre- and probiotic formula like Smarter Gut Health.
Get more Vitamin D.
Vitamin D levels are often lacking in people who suffer from chronic brain fog. Take a daily complete Vitamin D supplement, and on sunny days try to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors soaking up sun.
The takeaway is simple! Less inflammation in + more inflammation out = NO MORE BRAIN FOG! Take the saran wrap off your brain and enjoy blue skies again, starting today.